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Gene-Pesticide Interaction Supported in Parkinson's

Genetic polymorphisms in combination with high cumulative organochlorine exposure ups risk

THURSDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Genetic polymorphisms associated with a decreased ability of the ABCB1 gene to clear xenobiotics from the brain increase the risk of Parkinson's disease (PD) in the presence of high cumulative organochlorine insecticide exposure, according to research published in the June issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Fabien Dutheil, Ph.D., of the Université Paris Descartes, and colleagues conducted a case-control study of 207 cases and 482 matched controls to research the associations between PD and two polymorphisms in the ABCB1 gene, as well as the interaction between the ABCB1 gene and exposure to organochlorine pesticides. Study participants were stratified into three groups based on previous use of organochlorine insecticides: never users, users only for gardening, and professional users.

The researchers found no association for having either of the ABCB1 gene polymorphisms and the presence of PD (P = .97). The relationship between organochlorine pesticide exposure and PD was significantly stronger for those carrying two variant gene alleles than for non-carriers. There was also a significant association between increasing cumulative hours of exposure to organochlorine insecticides and PD. The researchers concluded that the findings supported the hypothesis of a gene-pesticide interaction in PD.

"Based on a biological hypothesis, we show that organochlorine insecticides may interact with ABCB1 in determining the risk of PD. These findings support the hypothesis of gene × pesticide interactions in PD. A better understanding of the relation between P-glycoprotein and pesticides, in particular organochlorines, and of the functionality of ABCB1 polymorphisms is therefore needed," the authors write.

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